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It's not as scary as it seems: FAQ's for new foster parents

Skookum Kids’ sole mission is to eliminate the pain points that make the foster care system so difficult.  Sometimes these pain points are as simple as not knowing the right answers, which is why we’re here to help.

Here we’ll address the 10 most common questions we get about foster parenting, and answer them simply.

Why are children in foster care?

Children are in foster care for no doing of their own—they are there because of neglect or abuse. Regardless, we believe that a better future is possible for these children.

How many children are in foster care?

There are 9,073 foster children in Washington State.  Across the country, there are over 400,000 kids are in foster care on any given day within the United States.

Who can become a foster parent?

In Washington state, there are some basic requirements to become a foster parent. You must be 21 years or older, be able to pass a background check, a home that meets all safety standards (can be a house, apartment, condo, etc.) and you must conduct a home study. You don’t need to be married, a homeowner, or a childcare expert.

How do I become a foster parent?

The process of becoming licensed takes time, but there are a few different ways to do it at no cost to you.  You can be licensed directly through your state, or through a private agency that acts as your liaison— like Skookum Kids.  The process takes anywhere from three to six months depending on how long it takes for the agency to process applications, interviews, and the home study.

Can I be a single foster parent?

The short answer— yes!  You do not have to be married or have a partner to be a foster parent. Many single people are successful foster parents.

Do I have to own my own home to be a foster parent?

Nope. There are safety measures that your home must meet ( a fire extinguisher, locks on cabinets, etc.) As long as those are met, you’re good to go, but you do not need to own your home to be a licensed foster parent.

I have my own children, can I still be a foster parent?

Absolutely. While there are restrictions on how many total children you can have in your home. you  can certainly have biological children and other family members living in your home as long as they are approved in your home study.

Is there financial assistance available?

Yes.  Washington State requires that foster parents have a regular source of income, but supplemental financial assistance is made available to help with the cost of food, clothing, and shelter for children in their care.  Additionally, medical and dental costs are covered by a foster child’s insurance. For more information on financial assistance, visit

Is it possible to care for foster kids on a short-term basis?

Yes.  We call short term foster parents “Respite Care Providers” because they often give full time foster parents some time off when they are going out of town, or have a family emergency.  Respite families are equally as important, and we would love to chat with you to see if respite care would be a good option for your family!

The licensing process seems confusing, is there someone that can help me?

Yes.  Skookum has a whole team of Foster Care Specialists who walk new foster parents through the licensing process every day.  Still don’t have all your questions answered? Let’s find a time to chat.

Laura Ann PoehnerComment